Our Gallery Wall


My husband instilled something in me when we first moved in together. At the time we were recent college grads and newly engaged, and I wanted this first apartment of ours to look amazing. My instinct was to go to Target and buy wall décor to fill space and cover our ugly beige walls. But Steve stopped me when I was discussing my plans. He told me how he prefers the décor in his home to be personal. Rather than picking up items because they "looked cute", he wanted to have items I created or prints that had meaning to them. With this in mind, I abandoned my original plans and took a look at what we already had. A few worthy item according to the new criteria and some obvious gaps that needed to be filled. Given how I now wanted everything to have meaning, I didn't rush the process. It's now been three years and we've gone through 4 versions of our gallery wall. I think this one is the best by far. In those three years, I've added items and taken some away, but the purpose has always remained the same.


      1. #Stelen2015 was our wedding hashtag. Inspired by the "celebrity name" given to us in college (Steven and Helen) and the year of our marriage. The Stelen2015 canvas was a wedding gift from a sweet college friend.
      2. A Valentine's Day gift from me to Steve, in the middle is a photo from the first time he visited me and my family in Chicago. Around the photo, I wrote the lyrics to "Crazy Girl" by the Eli Young Band. We considered it our song and eventually had our first dance to it at our wedding.
      3. Another gift from me to Steve. I took a wooden plaque and hammered in nails in the of the state of Iowa. The heart was placed in the center for the location of Iowa State University in Ames, where Steve and I met.
      4. A print from an Etsy shop. I originally was planning on purchasing one for some friends, but I felt it applied to Steve and I as well. In his job, he travels at least once a month, but usually more. Steve was also grew up moving every other year because his dad was in the Air Force. Because of this he believes in taking advantage of living in new places.
      5. A gift from Steve to me on our very first dating anniversary. The frame, from an Etsy shop, says. "I Love You to the Moon and Back".  The photo contains a picture of us a couple of days before our first date and a photo a us exactly one year later.
      6. A photo from our engagement shoot.
      7. The Kansas City Skyline print from Etsy. When we moved to KC, I wanted to buy a bunch of KC artwork to commemorate the move. The Skyline is made up of words that have to do with Kansas City.
      8. A print we picked on our honeymoon in Antiqua. It is of a part of the island that holds the National Park.
      9. A How I Met Your Mother print from Etsy. It has the famous "yellow umbrella" on it. This was a show that Steve and I loved to watch (except for the last season!)
      10. A gift from Steve to me. It says "Steve Lassos to Moon" with a image of a man actually lassoing the moon! He gave this to me because "It's a Wonderful Life" is one of my favorite movies. But the best part? It's not a print, its all sewn onto a canvas!
      11. An abstract map of Ames, IA.
      12. The cutest little print I picked up from Paper Source.
      13. This is actually a lawn sign from Iowa State's 100th Homecoming celebration. Steve and I were both on the committee to plan Homecoming that year.
      14. A photo of the Northern Lights, taken in Alaska, which is where we picked it up. If only I had seen them myself!
      15. Yes, that is a very tiny photo from our wedding, but we have much bigger ones in our living room!
      16. Another photo from our engagement shoot.
      17. This is a fun little item. I took the top off of a shadow box and left the glass and backing on. This is where we put old tickets from concerts, movies, and games.

I hope you enjoyed taking a look at our gallery wall and learning a little bit more about me, and my life!

As always, thank you for reading, Helen

P.S. You may also like Not Your Typical Headboard and International Shadow Boxes.

So we traveled to North Dakota


You did not read that title wrong! My husband and I traveled to North Dakota this past April to visit some dear friends of ours. I have known Rob and Kay for as long as I have known my husband. Rob, who is currently in the Air Force, met my husband when they were in 8th grade. Despite both being military children and moving throughout their lives, they remained very good friends and ended up going to college together.


Rob and Kay moved to North Dakota about a year and a half ago to the Air Force Base in Grand Forks. We had planned on visiting for them a since they moved, but between schedules and the VERY cold weather in ND, the plan kept getting pushed back. But when we received the news that Rob was to deploy at the beginning of June, we put a visit on the calendar immediately.

I am not going to sugar coat it; there wasn't much of a social scene in Grand Forks. But because we were with good friends, we were just happy hanging around their house watching movies and catching up. But we weren't locked up in their house the whole trip.

IMG_6995 Rob and Kay live in a house on base, so this was the first time I had ever stayed on an Air Force Base. We toured the base, including were Rob worked. We got to get up close with some of the planes he works with, which was not only amazing to see, but to hear. During the tour, Rob explained to us how the planes operate, where they have been, and some of the stories behind each plane.

One day, they also took us into town to see the city. We stopped in a little boutique which I immediately fell in love with. I walked away with a couple of gorgeous accessories, but I could have purchased the entire store! Near town is also the University of North Dakota, Grand Forks campus, which we also drove through. Unfortunately, the cold weather and off-and-on rain prevented us form walking for much of the trip.

IMG_7002 One of the most darling parts of Grand Forks was the airport. We quickly learned while waiting at the airport, the only way to get to Grand Forks from Kansas City, or any city, is through Minneapolis. When we arrived at the airport, we looked to the Arrivals and Departures screens, to see a grand total of 7 flights listed, all coming or going from Minneapolis! I had never seen anything like this before, so I found it to be so cute and hilarious!

Grand Forks is located about an hour south of the Canadian border. Believe it or not, all four of us had never been to Canada before. So we took a day trip up to Winnipeg, the closest Canadian city to Grand Forks. But more about that on a future post. :)

As always, thank you for reading!